BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – If you own a cardboard air freshener that hangs from your rear view mirror, it might come as a shock: dangling that scented ornament from your mirror is against the law in the state of New York.
According to legal authorities, anything hanging from your rear view mirror that can obstruct your vision–an air freshener, a religious keepsake, even a security pass for work–is illegal, but the law is rarely enforced.
New York’s Vehicle and Traffic Law, Section 375, subparagraph 30 reads: “It shall be unlawful for any person to operate a motor vehicle with any object placed or hung in or upon the vehicle, except required or permitted equipment of the vehicle, in such a manner as to obstruct or interfere with the view of the operator through the windshield, or to prevent him from having a clear and full view of the road and condition of traffic behind such vehicle.”
One recent exception was an air freshener that hung from a long string down to a car’s dashboard, so it didn’t obstruct the driver’s view. Attorney Allen Yates of Saratoga Springs recalled a state appellate court’s ruling.
“The judge in that case ruled that a one tenth of an inch string that was 18″ long that was holding an air freshener that was hanging at dashboard level did not violate the law.”
But the instructions for the air fresheners are very clear, the freshener has to swing free above the dashboard, otherwise it can cause damage to the car’s interior.
If you do get a ticket, the maximum fine for a first offense is $213 plus court costs.